Not A Day Less Will Do

This is Kenji, Jessica’s husband.

I am writing with the heaviest of hearts to inform all of Jessica’s blog followers that she has lost her 4 year war with ovarian cancer. I am going to keep the site up for at least another year because I recognize that it has a lot of information on it that Jess worked hard to collect and compose. Please spread the word for anyone who may need these resources. Beyond that, I will leave all of you with the following letter…

To my love, my heart, my soul, my everything, my Jessica,

On our wedding day, the first dance was our song, “Forever” by Ben Harper. The bold and unapologetic request Harper makes in this song is that we not take our days for granted; that we give each other a home for our ‘forever’, that our forever ‘not roam’, and ‘not a day less will do’ to truly honor our forever. I had the pleasure and honor of being your forever for 4070 days. Together we fulfilled our mutual promise to live life governed by, as Harper put it, ‘a hand-less clock with numbers.’ 4070 days seems like a lot, but when compared with the forever we imagined when I proposed to you, suddenly the number seems impossibly, and tragically, small.

On day 4070, the unstoppable force of our forever love for each other met the immovable object of death for you. The resulting friction has created a chaotic rift of pain, yearning, and desolate sadness that no physical pain I have ever felt could ever match. It is a testament to the person you were that so many others are feeling some degree of this pain too. We are all so diminished without you.

Stricken as I am by this chaos, you would expect that I would return to order. Pick up the pieces. Sort myself out. After all, it’s what you always did: You could take my colossal messes and turn them into organized art. You would take the blank and spark it into life with ornate details only you could imagine. You would take the cold and empty and add the warmth of your love to make everyone feel special. You would look at an “empty” fridge and whip up a feast. You would take our simple house and make a functionally brilliant home. You would fight the chaos, barely controllable pain, and desolate sadness of ovarian cancer with meditative dignity, a powerful elegance, and a magnetic sense of humor. You made the nurses and doctors in a cancer ward laugh.

I will take the pure smile, unfettered joy, absurd laughter, serious tears, infinite lessons, wonderful songs, and appreciative wonderment from our 4070 days forward into my forever, and in your memory, not a day less will do.

Your love, your heart, your soul, your everything,


17 thoughts on “Not A Day Less Will Do

  1. The world lost a bright light. Those of us still fighting will miss her insight & wisdom. Sending prayers for those who loved her.

    Steph ❤


  2. A beautiful and heart-wrenching tribute, Kenji. Jess was an inspiration to all who knew her and we mourn with you. God speed.


  3. Praying for you continuously…sending so much love, strength and peace your way. We all love you as we loved her too…💜
    Jules, Brian and kiddos


  4. Mon Amie, from day 1 you’ve been a force and have always been one of the most bad-asses women I have ever known. I love you so much. The world was that much cooler with you in it.

    Kenji I am sending you the largest hug. Know that you two made hearts smile every day.


  5. Oh Kenji. You continue to amaze me with your beautiful words for your beautiful girl. As Jess always did, you are fighting and sharing your heart. Thank you for that. I am sure you have heard hundreds of stories from hundreds of us about what Jessica means to us, but your love of her and your love for each other will live on as it is a model for all of us in empathy, unconditionally loving and what marriage means. Thank you for sharing her and your love with us ❤️ We are with you.


  6. Kenji–Thank you for posting. And I thank you for loving my daughter so well, so deeply, so completely. In pictures of the two of you, she always had an ear-to-ear smile. The love you share was so obvious and so deep. I have never regretted my decision to give her up for adoption–and her whole life proved that I was right. She had so many blessings that I could not have given her. I count you as the greatest blessing she ever got and I think she did, too.
    Peace and blessings to you,


  7. I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. I didn’t know Jessica, she was a stranger I stumbled upon once upon a time when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, when I yearned for others’ stories out there. Over the years, I popped in and out of this blog, always admiring her stories, her strength. It’s evident through the photos just how much you loved each other. I know you don’t know me, nor did Jessica, but I openly wept in a cafe, in a car, yesterday when I read your news, your beautiful letter. The world is not the same without her, for sure. But her words, her stories, her resources live on! I will share with others her blog.


  8. My deepest condolences, Kenji. Though I didn’t get to know Jess well, I’ve always thought of her as one of the most kind, uplifting, smart and positive-thinking women I’ve ever met and worked with. Such a special woman she was to be around. Volunteering for the MS Society was never the same after she left, so I moved on. Such a beautiful soul, and a beautiful tribute to your forever love…


  9. Thank you for posting and for sharing. I only met Jessica in person once, but she was a huge inspiration to me since I’m battling cancer too. I felt unexpectedly gutted when I heard the news.

    I cannot image what the past 2 months have been like for you, but as you posted, her light will shine on to guide and inspire all of us.

    Take care….


  10. Just a little update: I went this evening and got a tattoo–it’s “Jessica” in Kanji and it is on my arm, next to the blue lotus that I share with Jess and Liz, who both also have a blue lotus tattoo. If you are on FB and can find me, there is a picture posted there…I don’t seem able to put one here.
    It’s important to me to let you know that this is not a memorial tattoo; there is no date, no “RIP”. Just her name, in a rainbow ombre. I was just going to do it in plain English and in a script, but then I made the connection to Kenji–it’s Kanji writing, that’s Japanese and so is he…so it’s better than just a plain ole name.
    I figure that wherever she is now, she knows this and hopefully finds it to be a Good Thing.
    Hugs to all of Jess’ people. Share them and get some back when you do.


  11. Jess was amazing—I am honored to have known her. I echo Stepanie: Those of us still fighting will miss her insight & wisdom. And energy and boldness and badassness and silliness and so much more. Sending love, Kenji.


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